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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Castle Stuart the ‘tee’ to Highlands Conference Success

Business tourism set to receive a further boost during ‘winning years’.


The conference market in the Highlands could benefit to the tune of almost £1million on the back of a VisitScotland programme that encourages members of associations to act as Ambassadors for Scotland.


Representatives from sectors including health, bioenergy, and environmental science will hear how VisitScotland can support them to bring lucrative conference business to the Highlands at the Scottish Open, currently being played at Castle Stuart.


Conferences make an important contribution to the visitor economy in Scotland and a high proportion of all associations conferences come as a direct result of an invitation from a local member of an organisation or professional body


VisitScotland’s business tourism unit is working closely with two Ambassadors that, if successful, could see two conferences and some 800 delegates coming to the Highlands and greatly impacting on the local economy. 


Business tourism is worth £809 million to Scotland each year accounting for 20% of total tourism spend. Business visitors also spend 1.5 times more than leisure visitors and with the conference business coming in the shoulder periods it provides vital income in the quieter months and benefits not only the main venue but supports the local economy through hotels, guest houses, shops and restaurants.


VisitScotland offers support to local Ambassadors by providing:

• Advice on suitable venues an ideas for social programmes
• Pulling together a bid document
• Co-ordination of site visits for organising committee


Mike Cantlay, VisitScotland chairman, said: “Scotland has so much to offer delegates in terms of our world-class venues, our spectacular scenery, our fantastic food and drink, our history, and, as our wonderful surroundings today have outlined, our fantastic golf offering.


“Business tourism plays an important role in the Scottish economy; our commitment has been outlined through other initiatives such as the Conference Bid Fund and Inverness city committee approving greater financial support from the common good fund for conferences being held in the city.


“We’re driving the industry forward through an exciting array of opportunities that will see millions of pounds ploughed into the Scottish economy over the coming years. Disney Pixar’s Brave, the Ryder Cup, Homecoming Scotland 2014 are just a few of the key milestones creating investment and legacy for the Highlands and Scotland for years to come.”

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